A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

Living Room Tour

As promised, here is a tour of our completed-for-now living room. There are some things I want to change, but as of now, they are waaaaay down on the list. Number One, the fireplace:

Overpowering, isn’t it? Even next to our large, curved sectional sofa.

It’s also not a bungalow fireplace. A bungalow fireplace is much more understated: some simple tile around the hearth, flanked by bookshelves, and a solid, unadorned mantle.

The PO had this installed. While many, if not most, Chicago-style bungalows have a fake fireplace, according to the PO there was nothing here even though the wall recesses a foot or so.

However I do enjoy having a fireplace, and it works well. It’s a gas-start, wood-burning fireplace with a blower to circulate heat in the room. When we had our energy audit, the fireplace proved to be pretty efficient, especially as far as fireplaces go.

I would just love to tear that stone façade out and recess the firebox a bit so that it doesn’t jut so far into the room. It really causes some furniture arrangement problems.

Maybe one day, but not now. Moving on, the view from the dining room (the fireplace would be on your left):

I love our curved sofa — it fits nicely in the bay. We purchased it from Room & Board, however the last time I checked they no longer sell it (it was called Powell Sectional Sofa). Too bad, but I guess it wasn’t a big seller because of the shape.

The wall color is Benjamin Moore’s low-VOC Aura paint, flat finish: Azores (AF-495). The ceiling color is the same as the dining room: Honeymoon (AF-345). I’m usually not into the blues, but this is a teal blue (or green) that goes well with our art glass windows. I chose a color that would bring out the colors in the windows as much as possible, and I’m really happy with the result.

Since it’s a transition room, I painted the foyer in a neutral color, Shenandoah Taupe, AC-36 (also Benjamin Moore). Our attic staircase is currently this color, and eventually I’ll paint our hallway the same color. I’m using the neutral color to kind of “cleanse the palette” before moving into a new space.

Unfortunately the front door was replaced at some point. It’s still a solid wood door, in the Grover style according to the beautiful product line at Crestview Doors. (I always enjoyed reading their houseblog, Erwin House, and it’s great to see that they’ve launched a successful business catering to other house aficionados!)

One of our neighbors across the street has the same door, however another neighbor definitely has the original style, so I’m sure ours was replaced at some point — I would guess sometime after WWII. Another thing I’d like to replace at some point.

Later I’ll talk about some of the pieces we have in the room. Some are pretty interesting (at least I think so; hopefully you will too).


  1. southsideandy on February 17, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    We aren’t fortunate enough to have art glass windows (ours is a flat-faced bungalow), but we do have muntins (or whatever they’re called) in the original windows (the upper panes), so it’s at least “interesting”…my point is, I want to do exactly what you’ve done with the window treatments here…bottom pane only…I think it’s a great idea!

    And the room looks great — the fireplace too, looks great, but I agree that it is slightly “out of place” in this room…too bad, because it doesn’t look too shabby otherwise. Just not for this room. 🙂

  2. Nicole on February 18, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Very nice!

    I can see where that fireplace would be an issue. we’re giving the one in our downstairs family room a facelift pretty soon but luckily, it’s just putting up a fancy mantel — nothing like your project will be!

  3. denise on March 13, 2009 at 10:13 am

    southsideandy: you’re right; it isn’t too shabby, and yes, I think it would be good for another room, like a huge family room or something (in someone else’s house!) 🙂

    Nicole: can’t wait to see what you do on yours. I can live vicariously through others’ fireplace facelifts at least!

    Tamstyles: thanks so much — I hope you do visit again!

  4. Sylvia on March 13, 2012 at 8:49 am

    How about having no divider between the living room & dining room? That would center the fire place better and give the floor plan a more updated modern look. I love the fireplace with the oval sectional. I’m in Chicago and its so difficult to arrange furniture with an uncentered fireplace but I like what you did! It looks awesome & cozy.

  5. denise on March 13, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Hi Sylvia–wow, that’s an excellent idea and something I wouldn’t have thought about! I’m kind of reluctant to tear down original walls though and I’m not sure I could bring myself to change it. Definitely something to think about though. Thanks!

  6. Katie on January 28, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    I love your window treatments. We own a Chicago bungalow with similar windows and I would like to do the same type of treatment. Where did you purchase your window treatments?

    • denise on January 29, 2014 at 8:55 am

      Hi Katie, and thanks! I love them too. We got them at Roberts Drapery Center in Mt. Prospect. They’re custom, in Dupioni silk, so not cheap but worth every penny IMO. They’re lined as well, so they help keep out drafts, and they do the installation. I highly recommend them. If it’s out of your budget, as an alternative, you could try top-down/bottom-up cellular shades. Our neighbor used them in their bungalow living room and they’re happy with them.

  7. Katie Lyons on November 11, 2014 at 11:37 am

    HI Denise,
    Thanks for your recommendation of Roberts Drapery Center. Cheryl was just here to measure my windows and show fabrics to me. I’m excited to “dress” up our home finally! I have one window that we had to replace and the molding was ruined. Do you have anyone that you would suggest that could replace the molding for us on one of our windows? We don’t need much, just a 1/2 inch 3-tiered molding on each side.

    • denise on December 27, 2014 at 10:21 am

      Hi Katie, I’m so sorry I never replied to your comment. I haven’t been getting notifications on comments so I was unaware you wrote! I’m so glad you contacted Roberts Drapery and I hope it worked out well! I assume you found someone to replace the molding for you, but if not let me know and I might know of someone who can do it.

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